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UTAH VS MICHIGAN
WEEK ONE KEY RELEASE
2* Michigan -3 over Utah (Bookmaker.com) As it is, all eyes will be watching Rodriguez's every move. He's the first coach Michigan ever hired that wasn't a part of the "Michigan Family". Already, one of the old regimes recruits has quit the team. That was their best offensive lineman Justin Boren. I've read where this is a "rebuilding year" at Michigan. A transition year. I say, baloney. Michigan doesn't rebuild. They haven't had a losing year in 40 years. I don't think Rich Rodriguez told the powers that be at Michigan, "give me a few years to get things going with my system". Wrong. As with any Michigan coach, he's expected to win, NOW.
Granted, Rodriguez wasn't here for last years 0-2 start, but don't think that won't be a major focal point going into this opener. This game is huge. It's huge for Rodriguez and it's huge for the Michigan program in general. This is a program that's 46-8 at home this decade. The Michigan defense had some trouble against the spread offense last year, which they'll face against Utah, but look at the bright side, they get to practice against the spread day in and day out and their head coach is credited with inventing it.
The big question mark will be offensively. Will he be able to implement this offense quickly, with guys recruited into the old system? These are guys, at all the skill positions, that were recruited to run a very different offense. The consensus answer seems to be, they'll be just fine. It likely won't be the same offense Rodriguez ran at West Virginia. He's no dummy. He'll make best use of the players available to him. He'll play to their strengths as any good coach would. He won't force a system down their throats. Again, remember, he needs to win now.
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Utah players have been quoted as saying they won't be intimidated playing in the "Big House". Yeah, right. The fact that they are talking about it at all, means they will be intimidated. Let's be honest folks, you don't go to Utah and ever expect to be playing a game in Ann Arbor. Utah's home field holds 40,000. The Big House averages 110,000 people per game. These kids will be in awe. Here's a direct quote from Utah cornerback Sean Smith "I didn't see myself playing in a stadium that big ever in my career," Smith said. "It holds like over 100,000, so it's crazy. We're not worried at all because we have a couple older players that were on the '04 team that have been spreading knowledge about playing in games in those situations. Don't get me wrong, we're going to be excited, but at the same time, we're not going to be overwhelmed." Well, at least they are saying the right things.
Folks, I just can't see Michigan losing this game. At the very least, these teams are equal. In which case, the home field alone will win this one. But I really think the talent at Michigan surpasses not only that of Utah, but also of any team Utah faced all of last year as well. Rich Rodriguez will find a way to utilize the talent he has to pull this one out. Want a little more motivation? How about this.......Michigan is not even in the Top 25 in the pre season AP poll for only the 2nd time since 1970. Want even more motivation? Utah got more votes! Ouch. Talk about chalk board material!
Lastly, don't forget what happened to Michigan one year ago. They were on the losing side of one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football. That will be drilled into their heads over, and over, and over again heading into this one. So, ton's of motivation for Michigan plus the better talent all around should translate into an opening day home win. For now we'll leave this as a 2* play. Should the line drop more, we'll explore other possibilities to eliminate letting the number beat us. But for now, it's worth a 2* play.
Monitor the lines. It's up to you to get the best number possible on your wagers. On this particular game, I wouldn't run out and lay the -3 immediately as the numbers is still dropping.
Remember the Key Release ratings :
2* Small play
3* Regular play
4* Above average
5* Top Play
10* very rare
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